Saturday, February 20, 2016
I'm the teacher no one wants their child to have. It's not because I'm "mean." It's not because can't always make learning fun. It's not because I'm not good at my job. It's not because I believe in choosing battles and natural consequences. Or because I set high expectations but maintain an environment where it is safe to make mistakes. And it's definitely not because I have been known to bring cupcakes to celebrate my students' birthdays each semester. It's not because I teach math. And maybe it's not even because I teach special education classes. Or maybe it's because of all of these things. Maybe it's none of these at all.
These thoughts go through my head every time I meet a parent for the first time. Every time I have a meeting with parents about concerns with their child at any point in the educational testing process. Every time I meet with a parent, no matter how many times I've met them before.
And this is about the time you should realize--if you haven't already--that this is anything but a rant post. I will say in my experience, I haven't found a parent who wasn't supportive of me working with their child, both on the regular education and special education sides. That being said, I know it can't be easy. From the moment your child is born, the world is their oyster. Then you, or a teacher, or a doctor notices that your child isn't progressing as expected. There are a series of meetings, discussion about what your child can't do rather than what they can, and then there is a label. Next, we plan. We plan for ways to level the playing field. When we can't level the playing field with accommodations, we modify instruction with special education classes. And that is one of the ways I become the teacher no parent wanted their child to have.
I'm the teacher most students in the building never meet. When students at my school vote for their favorite teacher each May, I wouldn't be able to win even if all of my students voted for me. Luckily, I'm happy to get just one. I find joy in what I teach but also who I teach. I also understand that it isn't about me.
I'm the teacher no parent wants their child to have. I'm not the teacher they want, until I'm the teacher they need.